March 12th – III Sunday of Lent

My Dear Friends,

“Come see a man who told me everything I have done.” (John 4:29) 

She woke up that morning and went about her normal routine. The Samaritan woman went to draw water from the well not knowing that on that very day her life would be altered forever. We see how slowly but surely; she comes to the realization that the stranger that she encounters sitting at the well is in fact the Christ that they had been longing for. Jesus did not do anything spectacular to get her to believe in him. He didn’t cure any sick people or raise the dead. He simply told her what she had done. He peered into her very soul, brought out the darkness, and restored her dignity. I wonder if we would respond in the same way if someone would look into our hearts and verbalize the deepest secrets that we have locked away that we don’t dare tell anyone, not even in confession. Yet this gesture and the slow revelation that this stranger was indeed the Christ caused her to immediately leave the well to tell everyone about this man who told her everything she had done. She woke up that morning a sinful woman going about her daily routine and slowly developed into one of the first Christian evangelizers of Samaria. Her life would never be the same. 

When we encounter Christ, we should expect our lives to be altered. But this is where we must not allow our encounters with him, particularly in the Eucharist, to become routine. Here at this table, our lives are changed. We may not come to Mass every Sunday with the expectation that something dramatic and life altering is going to happen, but maybe we should. Last week, we had a Spanish Emmaus retreat here in the parish. Many of these men came not knowing what to expect, yet others came knowing full well that they needed a course correction in their lives and came expecting life-altering results. And that’s exactly what they got. These men came to the well to encounter Jesus, thirsting for the living waters he offered, and went forth, like the Samaritan woman, to tell the world what they had experienced. They encountered Jesus in each other, in the Word of God, in confession, and at the table of the Lord. Hopefully, their lives will never be the same. 

We must strive this Lent to not allow something as sacred as this encounter with Christ in the Eucharist to become routine. We aren’t going through a menial task. I guarantee that what you are doing right now at this Mass is more important than anything else you will do this Sunday or the rest of the week for that matter. We should expect life-altering results when we encounter the living God. Our lives should never be the same when we leave this table. Let me put it another way and forgive the hyperbole. Last month, the people of Turkey and Syria woke up one morning and went about their daily routines and within a few minutes of an earthquake their lives were dramatically changed, unfortunately, not for the better. I use this example to illustrate what’s at stake. Maybe we need a spiritual earthquake to rock us to our very core so that we can grasp the amazing and transformative love that Jesus pours out unto us at this table. So many times we walk into this church on Sunday mornings as if it’s something we need to check off of our Sunday to do list. This is Jesus. This is real. There is nothing more important that we will do the rest of the day. We cannot approach this table with the same “routineness” that the Samaritan woman approached the well on that fateful day. We should approach this table expecting to be transformed, expecting to be refreshed, expecting to be challenged, and expecting our lives to be totally altered because we have come face to face with our Redeemer. May we leave this church today like the Samaritan woman left the well: leaving our sins behind and ready to go out into the world to tell everyone what a life-altering event we have just witnessed. After encountering Jesus in the Eucharist, our lives should never be the same. 

God bless you all,

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